Developmental Bath Toys

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It can be hard to keep Veronika in one place long enough to “learn” from her toys these days (think: shape sorters and stacking rings). One great option for babies who just won’t sit still is to take advantage of a bathtub’s confined quarters. This makes bath time ideal for developmental learning and play!

I found a tub-safe shape sorter on Amazon and brought that to the bath, along with her plastic stacking ring set.

The shape sorter was an enormous hit! Whereas in her playroom she’ll fiddle around with the shapes for a moment and then lose interest, now she was fixed in front of the shape sorter.

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She spent quite some time trying to insert the circle into the square. Hmm, that didn’t work. I showed her the circle space. Tada! She was fascinated and wanted to play over and over.

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As a bonus, tub toys like this often have water wheel or pouring features, which further engaged Veronika.

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The stacking rings were also novel in the tub. She usually just likes to pull the rings off the center post, but now she had the time and incentive to stack the rings on.

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For any toys like this, keep up the dialogue as baby plays: shapes, colors, relative sizes. There is so much you can say!

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As an added bonus, all these fun toys kept my little imp from trying to pull up on the side of the slippery tub… but that’s a topic for another day!

Copycat Doing Dishes

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I posted recently about how much Veronika enjoys being my mimic with chores these days. One fantastic option that involves water play, mimicry, the joy of banging items together, and so much more, is simply to copy you with dishes.

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Any little toy dishes or tea set would work fine for this game (or even unbreakable pieces from your kids’ cutlery and Tupperware drawer). But Veronika has a little dish set complete with a drying rack that helped her be even more like mommy!

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I filled a shallow bin with water and added a squirt of soap; use tear-free baby wash instead of real dish soap. First, I showed her how to scrub the dishes.

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She loved reaching her hands in and splashing, and adding the dishes to swish them around.

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Utensils were especially fun, especially for pretending they were rhythm sticks to tap together.

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Once she tired of that, I showed her how to towel things dry with a cloth, another great opportunity for mimicry. She loved the cloth and played with it for quite some time on the floor.

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And believe it or not, there as no mess, since I had the whole game set up on a beach towel that went right into the laundry.

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So perhaps this is the perfect activity while you clean up for real after cooking baby a recipe.

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Snack Animals

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Independence is so crucial to kindergartners, and I have loved watching Travis’s confidence grow since school began only a month ago. Now, he wants to do all the little steps himself each day, from buttoning shirts to buckling his backpack. Being able to serve themselves drinks and snacks is also key for kids’ independence at this age, so we created this adorable snack animal to keep easy snacks at hand!

To start, remove the lid from an empty oatmeal canister, and trace twice on cardboard. Note: I found an old cereal box easier than stiffer cardboard packaging for tracing and cutting out. That said, it means your final animal won’t be quite as sturdy and might sit on your counter instead of standing!

Draw legs below each circle and cut out; these will be the front and back of your animal.

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Travis decided we should turn ours into a cow, but really any animal will work! Highlights magazine also suggested a pig or a deer.

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For the cow, we painted the legs white with black spots.

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I cut an additional shape to be the cow’s head, which we glued to one of the circles.

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Don’t forget to paint the canister, too, which received its own coat of white paint and black dots.

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Once the paint dries, glue the head piece to the lid of the canister. Glue the back legs to the back of the canister.

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Let the glue dry, then stuff with treats! You can also add yarn for a tail, depending which animal you choose. Pink would have been cute on the pig version!

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As noted, our cow kneels down a bit, but Travis loves that he can help himself to an afternoon treat.

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